Arqus universities response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

Leipzig University

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15/Mar/2022

The Arqus European University Alliance has condemned the Russian government’s military attack on Ukraine and has shown its support to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people from the very first day of the war. In a statement made on the conflict situation on 26th February, the Rectors of the Alliance members requested the immediate cessation of this action that constitutes a serious aggression against the people of Ukraine and the international law. Additionally, Arqus supported the statement published a few days later by the 41 Alliances of European Universities, calling for the restoration of peace, democracy and respect of human rights in this country.

Since the beginning of this conflict, Arqus universities are adopting and implementing different lines of action to help the Ukrainian people and namely, Ukrainian students and academics, in the aftermath of the Russian military invasion of their country. In the next paragraphs, a compilation of the main measures taken by each university member is presented, indicating the website where the up-to-date information can be accessed:

The University of Bergen (UiB) has held meetings with Ukrainian students, Russian students, and Belarusian students to ensure that they are taken care of in this difficult situation. This university has no exchange students or employees currently in Ukraine and it is now in dialogue with Ukrainian students on short-term stays who wish to transfer to a bachelor’s or master’s programme at UiB and have their residence permit extended. The Norwegian Government has decided that all research and educational cooperation with Russia will be frozen for an unspecified period. On this website, relevant information for students and employees about Ukraine can be found.

The priority action of the University of Granada (UGR) is to open a sponsorship line to channel aid and grants to people affected by the invasion of Ukraine. The UGR has already activated accommodation and support for those who need it, has contacted the Ukrainian and Russian students and has offered them psychological care, social care grants and an accommodation programme, as well as the offer of Spanish courses at the Modern Languages Centre. Currently, the University of Granada has 104 students from Russia (plus 28 Erasmus); and 46 students from Ukraine (plus 5 Erasmus). Here it is possible to find relevant information on the measures being adopted and implemented by the UGR (available in Spanish only).

The University of Graz (UG) has founded the “Task Force Ukraine” to discuss and adopt immediate and long-term measures. For now, the students from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia won’t have to pay student fees anymore. All the other measures will be compiled on this website. UG has published a piece of news online with a few interviews with selected researchers on the conflict. Specifically, expellees from Ukraine will not pay tuition fees at the university until further notice. Students from Russia and Belarus who can prove that they are affected by payment restrictions from their home countries can have their tuition fees waived. Students with Ukrainian citizenship who are already enrolled will have their tuition fee waived for the summer semester 2022. As for people coming from Ukraine who are looking at the very real possibility of having to stay longer here than anticipated: They can attend individual courses without having to pay any tuition fee. They may also attend courses at the University Sports Institute for free and they may receive a UniGrazOnline account and, thus, have access to all university resources.

Leipzig University (LU) has set up a dedicated website (at the moment only in German, an English translation is a work in progress) where the academic community can find out more and share information about support initiatives. In addition, there is a special calendar with events related to the topic. All members of the university can go there to post activities intended to support the people in Ukraine or to find out where and when events are planned. Additionally, together with the University Society and the Association “Hilfe für ausländische Studierende”, they have launched a fundraising campaign. For this, a relief fund called “Ukrainehilfe Universität Leipzig” has been set up.

The Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 presidency wrote a letter to all the students as well as the staff of the university to express their support to Ukraine. A support cell was created in order to deal with the various difficulties encountered (Urgence-Ukraine-UCBL@univ-lyon1.fr). Psychological and material support will soon be offered as well as legal and financial aid for those who need it. The University has committed to welcoming Ukrainian researchers and their families as well as doctoral students, as part of the “PAUSE” program initiated by the French government, in collaboration with the directors of the university’s components and research units. It is also committed to welcoming a hundred Ukrainian students so that they can pursue their studies in the best conditions (possible).

Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University set up a hotline for students from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine (students in exchange or those registered as regular students) to gather information on the difficulties they might face in France and bring an appropriate response as soon as possible. An emergency scholarship for the same students to help them face financial issues caused by the war was created. 25 students from Ukraine will be welcomed in French courses for the end of the academic year. This will help them obtain the specific student status the French government has offered and give them basic knowledge in French to integrate regular courses as soon as possible.

Jean-Monnet University is currently working on different proposals of supportive programs such as scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students and PhD students /doctoral candidates to help them to continue their studies, support for professors, lecturers and researchers within the framework of the national program PAUSE and training courses for non-French speaking students, thanks to the International Language and Civilization Center (CILEC), whose mission is dedicated to teaching French to foreign people. These projects are discussed every week during a “Ukraine Cellule”.

The University of Minho (UMinho) plans to welcome 25 Ukrainian students and give them a scholarship. The university will also support the teaching of the Portuguese language to the group of Ukrainian refugees now hosted in Braga, in the North of Portugal, in partnership with the municipality. The UMinho Academic Union carried out, at Braga and Guimarães, a campaign to collect goods for Ukraine, including food, medicine, clothes and blankets, which were sent on the 4th and 11th March. The UMinho Psychology Association also provides support to refugees who need it, within the framework of the university’s welcome program and the agreement with the municipalities of Braga and Guimarães. Meanwhile, the university remains open to requests from refugee students, researchers and professors who wish to develop their academic career at UMinho. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian universities and citizens. UMinho made a public statement in February and supports the statements made by the European University Association and the 41 Alliances of European Universities. For more information, visit the website.

The University of Padua (UP) has set up a website, which is updated with all the new initiatives, plus another one with the first reaction of the Rector, here. The board of directors of the UP has made a statement (in Italian) that can be read here. Additionally, a series of videos were realized during a public event, in which they lit the facade of the main building with the colors of the Ukrainian flag. They are in these Twitter-conversations.

Vilnius University (VU) launched a targeted support project to help the Ukrainian academic community and raised more than 37,000 euros. Moreover, the university expanded The Grand Duchy of Lithuania Scholarship program to Ukrainians. Students who cannot continue studying in Ukraine can now join Vilnius University and apply for compensation for their studies. Meanwhile, Ukrainian citizens who are already studying at VU and facing financial difficulties can now apply for a one-time social scholarship. Vilnius University Student Representation is expanding the mentoring program to integrate Ukrainian students into Vilnius University and our community. At the same time, the Counselling and Training Center offers psychological support for victims of the war in Ukraine. VU staff and students who master Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, and Polish offer translation services in these languages. VU has already addressed European and world leaders, urging them to end all ties with Russia and its partners supporting the aggressor and to offer full support to Ukraine. VU has already contacted 16 Ukrainian university partners to provide assistance, partners are informed about the possibility to receive and accommodate war refugees in VU dormitories. The university has a special directory “Support to UA” on the webpage (and intranet) with all the information for whole community.

The University of Wrocław (UW) has set up the University Committee “Solidarity with Ukraine” to coordinate assistance activities. The University created also a database for volunteers and those who need help, called Academic Bridge Ukraine. Among many actions offered, there is a possibility of transfer for Ukrainian students, studing at a public university in Ukraine, to the same or similar course at the University of Wrocław. The tuition fees for full-time studies in the Polish language are not charged to foreigners who have the status of refugee granted in the Republic of Poland or who are under temporary protection or subsidiary protection on the territory of the Republic of Poland. Apart from that, students from Ukraine currently studing at our university can apply for a student house fee exemption, and those who find themselves in an exceptionally difficult financial or life situation may apply for fee exemption for provided educational services. The university has created a special tab “University of Wrocław with help for Ukraine and Ukrainian students” on the website with all the information for the whole community.

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